Beleaguered Irish Cardinal Sean Brady has made a standing offer to meet with a survivor of clerical child abuse to deliver a personal apology, a Church spokesman told the Irish Examiner on Monday.
Brady made his offer in response to calls from Brendan Boland who would prefer the Catholic Primate make a public apology rather than the personal apology he has offered.
Boland was abused by the notorious serial pedophile Father Brendan Smyth in Dundalk in the 1970's. Now Boland claims that the offer of a personal apology demonstrates that Brady and Church leaders will never accept their responsibilities.
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A spokesman for the Cardinal denied Boland's claim and reminded the press that Brady had apologized publicly on many occasions, most recently in Saint Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh last year.
During the Mass, Cardinal Brady said: 'This week a painful episode from my own past has come before me. I have listened to reaction from people to my role in events 35 years ago. I want to say to anyone who has been hurt by any failure on my part that I apologize to you with all my heart. I also apologize to all those who feel I have let them down. Looking back I am ashamed that I have not always upheld the values that I profess and believe in.'
Brady's spokesman went on to say: 'This homily was widely reported by the national and international media. Over the years, Cardinal Brady has met with survivors of abuse to express his personal apology for their suffering by those clergy who have perpetrated such egregious crimes and shattered a sacred trust. In Boland’s case, Cardinal Brady was asked to offer an apology and to acknowledge and accept the failings of the Church in its handling of the case. He immediately offered to write to and then to meet Boland, in person, to offer that apology.
'Whilst this offer was not accepted, it still stands. Cardinal Brady takes this opportunity given by RTÉ today to express once again his deep sorrow to all those who were abused as children, their families and to all people who feel rightly outraged and let down by the Catholic Church’s failure of moral leadership and accountability.'